If you’re keen on responding to the call of the sea, don’t head out just yet. The rush of embarking on an adventure on your vessel may be tempting but doing some legwork before you get behind the wheel will pay off sooner than later! Here is a pre-departure checklist that you can refer to for a fun-filled but equally safe boat ride.
Pack a comprehensive first aid kit that includes items to serve you in times of distress. The kit should include the basics plus motion sickness and food poisoning medication. You can find prepackaged offshore emergency medical kits like this one from West Marine.
Don’t forget life jackets, life rings, radio, bell, whistle and an abandon ship bag to help you jump off a boat with all your essentials in case of emergency. Last but not least, a quality anchor such as the Rocna anchor will help to secure your boat in case of breakdown or bad weather.
It goes without saying that you should pack swimming gear perchance you decide to dive into the clear blue water. No boating gear is complete without rubber shoes to protect against slippage, sunscreen to protect from harmful ultraviolet rays and sunglasses to protect your vision from sun glitter.
A note about sunscreens: Steer clear of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. These two chemicals are known to cause irreversible damage to coral reefs.
A waterproof case can save your valuables. Place your electronics as well as wallet and keys in a waterproof case.
We know how possessive you are about your cellphone. Make sure it’s one of the first items to go in a zip lock pouch to avoid water damage while aboard your vessel.
Marine GPS devices come really handy when you’re lost on the sea. Now, if you’re less of a technophile and rely on a paper map and a magnetic compass, that’s OK. What matters is that you’re able to find your way around. Pro tip: laminate your paper maps to protect against water damage.
This may be a no-brainer but we are going to say it anyway. Boats that are loaded beyond their capacity are difficult to steer and are easy to capsize! Find out what your boat’s weight capacity and adhere to it at all times. Calculate the total weight of the cargo plus the weight of the onboard passengers and ensure that it stays below the maximum level.